|Photo of the American Academy library by Georgina Masson.|
But why Italy, you say?
I'm going to spend a total of five weeks at archives and libraries in Rome, Florence, Milan and Genoa working on research for a book about architecture and urbanism in East Africa. The Italian archives have a lot of great material related to the brief period of Italian colonization in Ethiopia, and their longer involvement in Eritrea and Somalia. I'll return to Ethiopia next year on another grant to do more field research.
For now, my base will be the American Academy, a venerable institution that supports around 30 artists and scholars during year-long residencies. The Academy was founded in 1894 under the initiative of architect Charles Follen McKim, in collaboration with Daniel Burnham, artists John LaFarge, Francis Millet, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French, and industrialists J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Henry Clay Frick.
At some point, I'll write about the Rome Sustainable Food Project, which Alice Waters created to combine the Academy's organic garden and kitchen. But for now, I'm mostly in awe of the idea that I get 24-hour access to the research library. That's right - I can walk in with my PJs and fuzzy slippers and pore through the 1938 TCI guide to East Africa. Awesome.